When it comes to NFL insiders, few are as dialed in as ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, so when they drop some pertinent Chicago Bears knowledge I feel it’s worth passing along.
This latest nugget from their week 16 notebook caught me a little by surprise.
“It's not often a 3-11 team gets some respect, but there have been a fair amount of compliments about Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.” This coming from Mortensen’s and Schefter’s inside sources. “That's because Loggains has overseen an offense in which backup quarterbacks Matt Barkley and Hoyer have performed surprisingly well during Cutler's absences. The Bears didn't let significant offensive line injuries get in the way of rookie Jordan Howard eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark.”
Ten days ago, our very own Sam Householder floated the notion that Loggains should return in 2017, and it was met with mostly negative reactions.
But if some fans are willing to give head coach John Fox a pass on the Chicago Bears horrible 2016 record because of all the injuries, then shouldn’t we take the injuries in to account when thinking about the job done by Loggians?
Chicago’s offense averaged 344.6 yards per game last year with Adam Gase calling plays and they averaged 5.4 yards per play on the 2015 season. This year under Loggains the O is at 351.6 yards per game and 5.9 yards per play. Until I actually looked those numbers up, I just assumed that Gase’s O would have been bigger.
Gase dealt with some injuries last year as well, but I think Loggains has had to coach around many more in 2016.
He’s on his 3rd quarterback in Matt Barkley. Back up guards Eric Kush and Ted Larsen have started 4 and 6 games respectively. Tight end Zach Miller only played in 10 games this year. His receiving corps have had some injuries and suspensions as well.
My main problem with Loggains this season has been his reluctance to stick with the run and ride the hot hand in rookie Jordan Howard. But perhaps the coaching staff made a conscious decision to not run the rookie into the ground.
Maybe, as Sam pointed out in his article, the Bears playing from behind has something to do with Loggains calling more pass plays. Then again, maybe Loggains is just a young offensive coordinator still learning on the job.
We’ve seen experienced play callers in the past get a bit pass happy before being reigned in by the head coach. Remember when Mike Martz was calling plays in 2010? Then Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith stepped in and asked for more balance and the 4-3 Bears went on a run that got them the NFC North Championship.
I’m not saying Loggains should definitely be back, because I’ve probably questioned more of his game plans this year that those that I’ve praised. Also the inability for the O to punch it in has been a problem all season long, but in looking at the big picture, maybe Loggains isn’t the fall guy that we all expect him to be.
If we’re to believe the “fair amount” of league wide “compliments” given towards Loggains, maybe the 36 year old play caller is starting to come into his own.